Engine Repair Fuel Injectors

Fuel Injectors 101: How to be Held Captive by Your Boat's Engine

Wednesday, May 08, 2013S.V. CAMBRIA


Part number 9: the missing nut

There are certain things in life that I never expected, nor wanted, to know anything about.  Fuel injectors would definitely fall into this category.  But now that we’re stuck in Poulsbo because ours were removed over three weeks ago and have yet to be reinstalled, they’re a topic of regular conversation aboard Cambria.  It’s a long story, but aren’t they all when it comes to boats? 

At the end of last season, the engine was getting smoky and leaving behind a slight burnt odor after you shut it down.  The issue could be coming from several different sources but, after looking around, David discovered one of the injectors was weeping, so that’s where he started. 

David’s a handy guy and has worked on engines most of his life (though not diesels).  He generally does all of the maintenance himself, so when he said he wanted to enlist the help of the local marine mechanic, I knew this was going to be a big job . . . or, at the very least, that it could be. 

When we returned to Poulsbo last November after a very long season on the water, our mechanic of choice stopped by the boat for a visit and David spoke to him about our issue and what he wanted to do – take a few months out to visit family over the holidays and attack the issue in February.  He assured us that it wouldn’t be a problem and wrote us down in his book. 

Back aboard in February, David called and set up an appointment for him to come by and look at the engine, but he never showed up.  And that’s where we dropped the ball.  Because he’s the son of a friend and we still had time to spare, we cut him some slack and tried again in March receiving a similar response:  Yep. No problem.  I’ll be by tomorrow.  Again, nothing.  It was time to move on.  But to where? 

A week or two later, one of the guys on our dock had a mechanic out to his boat who, within the span of two hours, had him moving again – this was our man!  But men like that are busy and Steve was no exception.  We did, however, manage to get an appointment for Friday, April the 12th – a little close to the wire, but still doable.  At eight o’clock that morning, the phone rang.  It was Steve.  He wasn’t able to make it because of an emergency:  We weren’t off to a good start.

But it really was an emergency and he showed up Monday afternoon with tools in hand.  Like most boats, access to our engine could be better . . . a lot better.  But Steve managed to reach around wires and through the smallest of gaps to remove the injectors in a little more than an hour, a miracle of modern boating:  Things were definitely starting to look up. 

Our injectors are two-stage and Seattle Injector Company can’t handle them, so they had to be sent down to Portland, which is exactly where they,ve been for the past three weeks.  The tips were bad and needed to be replaced, which we expected.  But as the technician was putting the last injector back together and getting ready to ship them, he discovered one of the nuts was cracked . . .  and, of course, the part is no longer produced or available.  That was the 24th.  After scrambling around, calling Volvo and anybody else who might possibly care, David sourced a reconditioned injector (based on the model number provided) from a company in Maine and had it shipped to Portland.

They received it first thing on Monday the 29th and we were still looking good to make our departure date of May 1st.  But, come to find out, it was the wrong one and Oregon Injector, for one reason or another, didn’t follow up on the problem or tell anyone for two days.  So between Portland, Steve and David, everybody was on the phone trying to source another one.  David found it in the end, but we lost two days in the process bringing us up against another weekend. 

The correct injector was delivered to Portland on Monday, shipped out yesterday and should arrive in Poulsbo some time this afternoon.  If that’s the case (and nothing else goes wrong), we’ll have our engine back tomorrow and can start thinking about leaving Poulsbo this weekend . . .fingers crossed!

In the meantime, we still needed to vacate our berth and were towed to the seawall where we have our own private dock (sans power and water).  The weather’s been absolutely beautiful – the best start to May we’ve seen since we’ve been based up here – and we’re doing everything we can to stay patient.  It’s a frustrating situation, but we both know it’s the nature of the beast and in a few days time, we’ll have forgotten all about it.

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